Tuesday, 30 November 1999

Newsletter Issue 2, November 1999

Sam Young Newsletter

Issue 2, November 1999
Hi guys,
OK - it's time for newsletter number two. As I mentioned in the last newsletter, this is designed to give all you people out there some local info and computing tips from the user’s point of view, and many of you have been kind enough to pass suggestions on to me for inclusion, which is great. 
The theme of this newsletter is Office 2000 – my personal views on the pluses and minuses. But first, a Y2k "must do" for all of you. Check out Y2K below and Office 2000
Backups    Short & Hot Keys        Hot Linx
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Y2K Update

You may think your PC is "Y2K" compliant, and some tests may have actually confirmed that your hardware is compliant. You may even have a little company sticker affixed to your system saying "Y2K Compliant"... but you'll be surprised that some Windows software may still crash unless you make this simple change to your Regional Settings as follows;
  1. Go to the Start Menu
  2. Select Settings
  3. Select Control Panel
  4. Select Regional Settings
  5. Go to Date Tab (4th or 5th Tab along depending on your software). In the "Short Date Style" field, type an extra "yy" after the "dd/mm/yy" that is already there (reading now "dd/mm/yyyy").
  6. Click Apply, then OK.
  7. Close the Control Panel window, and restart the computer.
The reason that this might cause problems is that some software picks up this short date format from Regional Settings, and so may not recognise the rollover. Microsoft recommends always using a 4-digit date in all dates to prevent a similar "Y2k" fiasco occuring again. 
My especial thanks to John Bergman for passing this on to me; this was something that I was not aware of, and while this issue is not life-threatening, it could have caused some unexpected software glitches.

Office 2000 Edition

There are several editions that have been released of Office 2000; from the standard edition, containing just Word, Excel, Outlook and PowerPoint, through to the Premuim edition with FrontPage (Website developing software), Photodraw (graphics package), Access (database), PowerPoint, Publisher, Outlook, Excel, Word and Small Business Tools.
There are some nifty new toys in 2000 - one of the most useful for me being the "clipboard" toolbar, which enables you to copy up to 12 items at any one time from a variety of programmes (including non-Microsoft software) and then paste all the items separately by selecting each one; or pasting the lot at once. This is great, for example, for pulling a document together from an e-mail, a presentation, a publication and a spreadsheet into one Word document.
Another really good toy is the new Clip Art window. No longer do you have to go back & forth into clip art looking for just the right clip; now you can leave the clipart window open, and return to it at any time, in any programme. The search functions are better, and the window now works like a web browser, with forward & back arrows; just awesome for that nasty moment when you have just deleted the perfect search!
Another new toy is nested tables in Word. You can now paste a table into a table, which saves a lot of mucking about merging and spitting cells. 
Also, the menus in all the programmes will collapse to show only those frequently used items. By keeping the cursor over the menu, you can drop down the full menu, but it does save a bit of time scrolling down through menus looking for that one thing that you use all the time.
There is a common address book across all the programmes now, which is very handy, and the ability to create html newsletters like this one if you get FrontPage!
Another cool and funky wee thing is the "place bar" in the file open window. There are five shortcut icons to the left of the file open dialogue box which you can click on to save having to "mine down" to find the folder that you want. There is also a great piece of shareware that you can install called "Woody's Place Bar Organiser" which allows you to customise the shortcuts - if you go for minimised icons, you can have your ten favourite file locations which saves you HEAPS of time. The same file open window shows in all Office 2000 programmes. 
Office 2000 is also largely self-repairing, although I have had to do a couple of re-installs as well. In general, if there is a file corruption, or if you delete an essential driver file by mistake, office will repair itself. 
Office 2000 does take a bit to install. The major problem that you have is what Microsoft terms a "Dirty" install. This is where you have driver files open in the background running all sorts of things. You have to not only close all active programmes, you also have to close down your office taskbar, virus checker, and any other little icons that you might have open down on the bottom-right of your toolbar; then Ctrl/Alt & Del to close all active driver files except systray & Explorer. THEN you install Office 2000. Not for the fainthearted.
Once you have gone through this once it is not too bad. This is the procedure you should always follow for installs, and you will have far less problems with software falling over with GPFs, The Blue Screen of Death, hung sessions and crashes .
If you are thinking about upgrading to Office 2000, You don't have to panic about incompatability with previous versions of Word, PowerPoint and Excel. They are the same version, but the new toys in each of these programmes can't be seen by the earlier verions.
Prices will vary on the software pack. If you have Works or any other full version of Microsoft Software you are entitled to purchase an upgrade version, which saves you quite a bit of money on the price. The upgrade version is exactly the same software as the full version, but it will not install unless you have Works or something else already installed on your machine. The standard edition is about $450 for the upgrade. My personal advice is to get the premium edition, which retails for about $1069, as you might as well purchase the lot - individual packs for Access etc are about $700!
But check around and ask what kind of discount you can get for cash. I went to PowerStore, and got the Premuim pack for $820 - and the Professional version (same software but without FrontPage and PhotoDraw) was retailing for $799. 
If you bought the Professional Edition and decided later that you wanted either FrontPage or PhotoDraw,  to purchase either individually would cost you at least $700. So getting the Premium version for an extra $21 is worthwhile if you think you are likely to need a higher powered graphics package or web authoring software.


So - have you all organised your back ups yet? Chosen a media? Got organised? Doing the back-ups regularly?

Don't forget that you definitely need to back your data up for Y2K - your insurance will not cover a forseen loss. Y2K has been well publicised, so if you have not taken action, your insurance company has a great "out". 
The addresses are as follows; Hewlett Packard website and Iomega Zip Drive website.

CD Covers

And in addition to the Everyman having CD covers (10 for $10), you can buy CD covers in a pack of 3 from the $2 shop for $2 - so long as you don't mind orange, green and yellow tints!

Short+Hot Keys... and now tips
  • Universal Help F1 
  • Universal Find Ctrl & F 
  • Access bring up database window F11 
  • Word/Publisher select all Ctrl & A 
  • Word/Frontpage create hyperlink Ctrl & K 
  • Office spellcheck F7

Hot Linx
Don't forget to check for virus hoaxes before forwarding the “virus warning” e-mails; http://www.datafellows.fi/news/hoax.htm
Check out some excellent shareware available from ihug at http://homepages.ihug.co.nz/~batcave/utilities.htm
Interested in Ancient Egypt? This is the most comprehensive site on ancient Egyptian mythology on the web at http://www.ixpres.com/netjert/index.html
Another yellow pages site - this time it's Australia on http://www.yellowpages.com.au/
Want to order your books on line? Whitcoulls will do that for you at http://marketplace.xtra.co.nz/cgi-bin/Whitcoulls.storefront
What about Music? CD NOW is THE BEST place on the planet for music, and can be found at http://www.cdnow.com/
And just one more.... Check out Triple J in Sydney - you can listen to the station, streaming live on http://www.abc.net.au/triplej/triplej.htm

                                Catch you again soon!! E-mail your suggestions to me here